The Ride to Raleigh: An exclusive one-on-one with Gov. Pat McCrory

Candid conversation with McCrory

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is a polarizing politician, he's both loved and loathed.

His policy of ending unemployment benefits has resulted in lower unemployment which is a positive. 
But his policy on tax reform, voter ID and opting out of the expanded Medicaid program, has riled up his detractors.

WBTV anchor Paul Cameron rode along with the Governor for a day and discussed his positions.
After leaving Charlotte, one of the first stops was in Jamestown where the Governor stopped at his alma mater, Ragsdale High, his first of three speeches on the day.

But there's work to do first.  He dons a headset and works the phone.

"What do you mean 'I don't understand'? What do you mean you can't find the people?" he said while talking to his embattled Health and Human Services Secretary, Aldona Wos. "We're not going to be pushed over, okay?"

McCrory stands firmly behind his Secretary despite a myriad of problems at DHHS.

The computer system for food stamps and Medicaid signups called NC Fast was anything but fast which created a backlog of 70,000 cases.

"There have been some mistakes," McCrory admitted. "But Secretary Wos came into a system that was totally broken."

So broken, that Washington issued an ultimatum to fix the backlog or lose $88 million in federal funding.

"Computer systems that were totally broken and that she inherited," McCrory told WBTV. "And put online when my predecessor was supposed to put online before it."

With the bulk of the food stamp backlog addressed, critics wonder why it took so long while families were left in limbo.  And, there's another federal deadline weeks away.

"I don't know, we're going to have to do some negotiating with the federal government," McCrory said. "See Secretary Wos has fallen on her sword for the 100 counties, it's each of the counties that are responsible for this."

After leaving Charlotte, McCrory flips through his speech.  He's announcing he's found money to give starting teachers, nurses and other state employees a pay raise.

"Highway patrol guys, I think, entry level is right over $30,000 a year. That's a 12-month job.  And a lot of danger to go with it," the governor said. "A lot of danger, except for the guys protecting me. Piece of cake. Who would want to hurt me? C'mon, everyone loves me."

Everyone, except the Moral march protestors and their number one goal is the eviscerate Pat McCrory.

"I'm not going to let them eviscerate me," he told WBTV. "I'm going to do my job."

But does it bother him that they are yelling at him?

"Sure, sure, I hide my thin skin most of the time," he said. "Everyone likes to be liked. Name calling and swearing and shouting and screaming is not the way I think good political dialogue should go."

McCrory's most visible adversary is NAACP President Reverend William Barber.

"I met with Reverend Barber when I was Governor elect, had a wonderful meeting with him," McCrory told WBTV. "But the one and one meeting with Reverend Barber was a heck of a lot different than the bombastic rhetoric on the pulpit in downtown Raleigh."

"I respect differing opinions.  But more than anything else, I respect solutions," he continued. "Even solutions I disagree with.  But come to me with solutions, don't come to me with a sign that says give me something and don't tell me how they're going to accomplish that goal."

Governor McCrory appeared live on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday and with national TV exposure comes the obvious question - would he consider running for President in the future?

"Right now, based on the protestors, I'd better survive the next week."

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